The Archer and the Milkmaid

Artist: After Jacques de Gheyn II (Netherlandish, Antwerp 1565–1629 The Hague)

Artist: Andries Stock (Netherlandish, 1572/82–after 1648)

Publisher: Nicolaes de Clerck

Date: ca. 1610

Medium: Engraving; first state of two (New Hollstein)

Dimensions: Sheet: 16 5/16 x 12 15/16 in. (41.4 x 32.8 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949

Accession Number: 49.95.1331


The well-bred artist Jacques de Gheyn treats the subject of milkmaids with more circumspection than is found in popular prints of the period. An archer with a bulging codpiece aims his crossbow right at the viewer, like Cupid hitting us between the eyes. The archer and his helpful companion (who wears his hat) reappear as lovers in the left background, where a stallion (presumably) ogles a mare. De Gheyn refers to slang expressions such as "milking" (see 41.1.24) and "shooting your bolt." The inscriptions were probably added by the publisher. The Latin verse lamely alludes to male anatomy while the Dutch text warns maidens of men with crossbows cocked.